Review Summary: Great debut album from a symphonic metal band with female vocals.
Even though it looks kind of cheesy to give a 5 to my first review, I couldn’t give another rating to a record that’s so special to me, and so underrated. The lack of reviews on the web show how litle known this band is. More than letting out the fanboy in me, it is some sort of feeling of justice that makes me write these words about Free/US.
Anyway, there I was browsing like a maniac through tons of myspace bands, in the attempt of finding something special. After many clicks in the (x) button, my longing was finally fulfilled, and I came across these Czechs.
And what do we have here? Female vocals, no aggression, crunchy guitars, poppy melodies and lots of symphonic sounds. Now, you start wondering “oh no, not another Within Temptation wannabe” well….not exactly.
The thing is, Innocens are a nice breeze of fresh air into the genre of Female fronted metal bands. Even though, the music on Free Us, is not the most original thing, they surely know how to make things interesting. Starting with the maturity found on the songs. Tracks like The Shinning, The First Snow or Remember, are not the type of songs you find on a first record. Everything is perfectly measured, not too complex, but still you can discover a little something on every time you play the songs.
The instrumentalists, while not being as skilled as After Forever or To Mera, they certainly make a good job, especially the drummer Thomas, due to his rhythm changes, for versatility’s sake. The keyboardist Petronius is also worth mentioning for his beautiful arrangements and melodies. Even though I mentioned the lack of aggressiveness, there’s still some groove mostly on songs like Race or Queen of my Own.
The production fits very well with the sound. Not too crystal clear like the usual Sirenia or Delain album, but still you can perfectly listen to every instrument. There’s a certain roughness that only gives the album a little feeling of mystery.
And finally the singer Katerina, who without doubt, is the gem that shines throughout the 11 songs (+ one
instrumental). It’s not easy to describe my feelings towards her voice, so I’ll try to be as objective as possible. First of all, try to imagine the beauty of Sharon den Adel, with the versatility of Floor Jansen and the multilayered vocals of Anneke Van Giersbergen, add some flaws on her singing that only gives a certain charm, and you have it. Since the first track, H.O.P.E. you can see what I mean, she starts with some high pitched vocals, and suddenly she rocks her ass out, then comes the chorus with those multilayered vocals that when not overused, sound so great. And then you listen to the beginning of The Shining and it’s like an angel singing (lame I know). More than everything, she sings with her heart, and that’s what makes her so special, and covers those little flaws in her voice.
To summarize, here you have an album that once it grabs you, it never lets you go. Beauty and diversity are the keywords here, and twelve amazing songs that grow on every listen.
Simone Simmons and Tarja worshipers may want to be far away from Innocens, however Arjen Lucassen fans should give them a try.